Terror cops swoop on couple who Googled 'backpacks' and 'pressure cooker'
PRISM, SCHMISM: Employer called cops over departed worker's Google history
Freelance writer Michele Catalano thought she might get herself a pressure cooker to prepare Quinoa, the south American wonder-grain. Her husband wanted a new backpack.
Both did what you do these days: go online and search for them. Catalano's husband did so from his work computer, and later left his job.
Nothing to see here, you say to yourself … except for the nasty coincidence that alleged Boston bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are said to have hidden pressure cookers in backpacks. But when Catalano's husband left a job and his old boss looked at his search history, he or she decided to tip off the authorities.
The Catalanos found that out the hard way when, as Michele has blogged her husband “saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.”
Here's what happened next:
“Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.”
Catalano says the six men were from the “joint terrorism task force” and asked her husband “Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb?” and numerous other questions to identify him, discern if he possessed a pressure cooker or has any interest in bombs.
After about 45 minutes, the agents left, leaving a shaken man, a very-viral blog post and a fascinating little insight into the war on terror behind them.
The last, Catalano says, was an utterance by one of the agents that “They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing.”
Since Catalano's first post, she's popped out another explaining the source of the tip was not PRISM-style surveillance, but a tip from hubby's employer to the local Suffolk Police Department. The fine men and women of that department have confirmed the source of the tip.
Her post concludes “All I know is if I’m going to buy a pressure cooker in the near future, I’m not doing it online.
“I’m scared. And not of the right things.”
Since that post it's emerged that her fears should be directed at the climate of paranoia that led hubby's employer to join the dots and find the image of a terrorist. Which of course is just how the terrorists want us to feel. ®